When the announcement came that Paulina Rubio would join Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato and Destiny's Child's Kelly Rowland on the third season of X Factor, a majority of the program's audience was left scratching their heads and asking, "Who is Paulina Rubio? And what does she add to the show?"
To Latinos, the Mexican superstar is a household name and has been a staple in the Latin music scene while still garnering sell-out crowds, countless hits, and sales of over 20 million records world-wide. Univision even placed the pop star on its list of most powerful Latinos in the world.
Although she looks just as young as some of her female counterparts, the reigning "Queen of Latin Pop" has been making music for over 25 years. And her latest move to X Factor on FOX seemed the perfect fit after having served as a judge on both La Voz Mexico and La Voz Kids.
Rubio is an experienced and entertaining addition to the panel and provides Latinos with the opportunity to break another star into main-stream America. Not only would the singer be catapulted into the limelight, she would be given the same platform Jennifer Lopez and Shakira had while judging American Idol and The Voice. But unlike Lopez and Shakira, who remained fairly neutral figures throughout their judging tenure--Rubio seems unafraid to shake things up by getting a little controversial.
Arriving late to a Denver, CO audition Rubio tried to explain in her sensual, raspy growl of a voice that she, "would have been on time if it was not for f**king American Airlines who lost my bags." Her candidness shocked the crowd, but showed how a little bit of spontaneity and sass can go a long way towards re-energizing the singing competition and its judging panel.
Her public spats with former 'Timbiriche' band-mate Thalia were more than just attention grabbing. They became part of one of Latin America's greatest feuds and kept the media's eyes on Rubio for years.
Throw in the sex appeal of some of her most popular music videos like "Boys Will Be Boys," or "Algo Tienes," where only cautionary yellow tape separate the viewer from Rubio's body, her keen sense of fashion, and a fearlessness reminiscent of Madonna and you have a superstar teeming to go global.
Rubio is one of very few musicians who understand the balance between the creative and business aspects of the entertainment business. Her longevity proves that she knows what works and what doesn't whether it is in the Latin American or American markets, and because of that she's landed herself a prime-time position on cable TV.
What may have seemed an unexpected choice at first was a savvy and in-tune calculation by Cowell to harness the power of one of Latin America's brightest stars and leverage the massive potential of the underserved Hispanic market she represents by bringing her on as an X Factor judge.
Ms. Rubio is the perfect answer to luke-warm ratings and an anti-climactic second season, where viewers turned to Britney Spears to create the spark the program so desperately needed but didn't get.